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The Villages
Sunday, April 14, 2024

It’s not an easy job and it’s only getting harder

Rich Nugent
Rich Nugent

I spent 38 years in law enforcement. From patrolling the night shift in a police department in a Chicago suburb to serving as Sheriff of Hernando County in Florida, I have been witness to unimaginable acts by horrendous criminals. I’ve been held at gun point by a deranged individual.  I’ve had to bury my friends that I went through the police academy with. I’ve had to tell children that their parent was never coming home. I know first-hand what so many people in the law enforcement community are feeling right now; a somber combination of frustration, anger, pride, fellowship, conviction, sorrow and loss.
It’s not an easy job and it’s only getting harder. Many times situations arise where judgement and action need to be weighed in an agonizing split second. Do cops always make the right decision 100 percent of the time? Absolutely not. Does all the amazing work that cops do on a daily basis go unreported and underappreciated? Absolutely. The hard truth is that perfection is impossible while safeguarding the public, protecting oneself and subduing a criminal all in the heat of an intense moment.
No matter one’s station in life, an innocent person, badge or no badge, doesn’t deserve to be a target for violence. Period. And the perpetrators of such violence, no matter who they may be or what they claim to represent, deserve to be met with the full weight and force of the law.
This is why Dallas is such an unspeakable tragedy. It appears this mass murder was a planned, coordinated and executed attack on officers of the law simply for wearing the uniform of their community. At least five officers are dead, with even more seriously wounded. This tragedy is the worst attack on the police community since September 11th.
And so I leave with what that means to me personally.  As we all enjoy precious time with friends and family over the coming days, think about the fact that a handful of police officers in Texas will never get that privilege ever again. Slain by someone with a heart of pure evil, these heroes will never again step foot in their homes, never see their kid’s next little league game, never get to share a meal with those they love ever, ever, ever again.
Give some time and thought to what the families and the Dallas Police Department are going through at this very moment. Something of this scale is as unexpected as it is unimaginable.And to the families most especially, we need to let them know that not a day goes by that we don’t think of the officers who died in the line of duty and this tragedy will be added to that ever growing prayer.
Criminals and murderers and terrorists will never divide us. They may try to kill and shoot and intimidate, but their method of evil will not break our country or our communities. Ever.

Congressman Rich Nugent represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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